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REQUESTING FLYBY: Hell In A Cell 2014 Review (With Extended Ambrose/Rollins/Wyatt Thoughts)
By Maverick
Oct 27, 2014 - 2:21:07 AM

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Hell In A Cell 2014 Review (With Extended Ambrose/Rollins/Wyatt Thoughts)

If you read my preview column on Tuesday, you’ll know that your reviewer was absolutely pumped for this pay-per-view, as there was very little fat on the card and there was considerable intrigue for yours truly over several of the prospective bouts. Whatever people may feel about the TV product of recent weeks, every single pay-per-view this year has delivered, and at least half of them have been genuinely excellent shows. Well, here I am at 3:09 in the morning UK time typing up my thoughts and my suspicions were correct. Hell In A Cell 2014 is up there with Extreme Rules and Elimination Chamber in the list of tremendous non-Big Four events we have been treated to this year. I enjoyed almost everything, and loved at least half of it, so expect to read a lot of positive reactions from here. I make no apologies for that. This was a pay-per-view that proves the suspicion I have had all along; WWE still understand how to book strong professional wrestling shows.

Dolph Ziggler defeated Cesaro 2-0 to retain the Intercontinental Title in 12:15 in a Two Out of Three Falls Match

The night got off to a cracking start with an excellent choice of curtain jerker. We got some ultra-crisp chain wrestling at the bell, with a couple of intense staredowns as the workhorses jockeyed for position. Cesaro was able to use his superior leverage in these exchanges, but Dolph could counter with quickness leading to a great exchange of pinning predicaments, that led to a roll up by the Show Off for the first fall following the giant swing. This seemed to come too early in proceedings for my liking, but with two Cell matches, midcard wrestlers are always going to be squeezed for time. The Swiss grappler came out firing at the start of the second fall with vicious strikes and a unique looking submission, kind of like a modified Regal stretch. Very cool. Ziggler sold the assault as only he can amongst the current roster, then came back into things with a headscissors into a cobra clutch; incredible athleticism and timing shown with that spot. Cesaro broke out of the submission with a crazy superplex that showcased his insane strength, but he then missed a corner charge, leading to a near fall off the Fameasser. Cesaro was soon back in action with the Swiss Death uppercut but Ziggler kicked out at two, leading to a pleasingly heelish show of frustration, adding to the old school feel the whole contest had. The former Real American hit a ludicrously awesome tilt-a-whirl backbreaker off a Dolph superkick attempt, but when Cesaro went for the Neutraliser, the Show Off countered out of it into the superkick and the Zig Zag for the two straight falls victory. Does this signal a proper push for Ziggler? I have been tentatively describing his strong booking ever since Battleground, and I have tried to be cautious, having been burnt before, but it really looks as if WWE might be placing their trust in the peroxide one again. It will sure be interesting to see. As for Cesaro, he really will be just fine. His talent and application will pay off, it’ll just be a longer road than modern day fans are willing to travel. It’s not all about instant gratification, you know. The man is wrestling great matches, be content with that. All in all, I would have loved another ten minutes for these two to really tear the place down, but I loved the way the bookers broke the two out of three falls match cliché of having it be a close run thing. As my main man X Pac put it on Twitter: “@WWECesaro & @HEELZiggler just raised the bar on a lot of levels with that match. Attention to detail, pacing & 2 straight for a change”


The first backstage segment saw an intense Randy Orton looking for Seth Rollins, after The Architects actions on Raw. Steph told him to take out his anger on Cena, and Trips told him to finish Cena and take back his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Very effective, and the Orton slow burn face turn is on, seemingly.

Nikki Bella defeated Brie Bella in 6:21 to make her a personal assistant for 30 days

There was a decent start to this bout, with more chemistry than the two had previously displayed between the ropes, although the early going lacked crowd heat. Nikki continued her recent trend of wrestling in something of a hoss style with an electric chair and a sick looking knee strike. Nikki showed frustration when the ref only counted a two and stood on her twin’s hair, a sure sign that she is growing into her villainous role. Brie was dragged to her feet, but managed to counter with an X Factor for near fall (this X Pac fan marked out a bit for that). Nikki bailed out at this point- again, good understanding of her role- and Brie hit her with an awkward looking suicide dive, the start of a flurry of vaguely Daniel Bryan looking moves from the babyface. Nikki countered into the Rack Attack but Brie kicked out, prompting a scream of “what is it going to take?” The crowd woke up big time when Brie put on the Yes Lock, but Nikki made it to ropes, stood up to hit a Lex Luger like forearm strike, and hit a second Rack Attack for the win. Although the stipulation telegraphed the finish, the ladies did very well here. Both have grown into their roles. As long as they’re not allowed on the mic too much, they add a little something to that Divas Division.


Up at the Kick Off Panel desk, Booker T and A Ry talked nonsense to Renee Young for a bit, while Paul Heyman managed to get heat just by raising an eyebrow.

Goldust and Stardust defeated The Usos in 10:21 to retain the Tag Team Championships

Although the feud heading into this was distinctly lukewarm, the actual contest was always bound to deliver, given the talent within it. Cody started off by almost channeling The Genius with that showboating cartwheel. Goldust and Jimmy Uso traded hip tosses and there was some effective back and forth action until Cody was able to wrap Jimmy’s knee around the ringpost from the apron to set up the usual Uso face in peril routine (they seem to have gone full Road Dogg recently!) and Cody went to work with fists and boots, while frequent tags in and out showed the usual heel psychology in keeping the opponent isolated. Goldust was backdropped over the top rope to set up the hot tag and Jey Uso flew out of the ring twice and had the Dusts reeling. They do that comeback stuff as well as anybody in the business right now. There were some almost Tekken like combos following that initial hot entrance from Jey, with a mule kick to the gut, uppercut and Samoan Drop, followed by his father’s ass first corner charge. Goldust came roaring back but missed the twisting crossbody. Stardust tried to interfere but got cut off by Jimmy, setting up an awesome double superplex spot and a splash onto Goldust, but Stardust was able to break up the pin. With the referee’s back turned, a Stardust kick to the back of Jey’s knee allowed Goldust to hit the Final Cut for the victory. Very strong in ring action and a cool finishing sequence. The only thing to wonder about now is where the tag division goes from here. New blood is desperately needed. The smart thing to do would be to get all the NXT teams up, but I somehow don’t see that happening. Perhaps we’ll get a pair of thrown together babyfaces challenge the Dusts instead?


Good on WWE for all the work they do with Susan G. Komen. Have to just stand up and applaud them for that.

Brilliant video package hyping Orton and Cena. I was pumped for that match anyway following Raw, but that put it over the top. Like it or not, they are the two guys the last decade will be remembered for.

John Cena defeated Randy Orton in 25:57 in a Hell In A Cell Match to become number one contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

As the two veterans circled each other, Michael Cole pointed out that these two have won 27 championships between them. That statistic is just insane. Orton started hot with strikes and used the turnbuckle to stun his adversary. Cena was then flung out of the ring and they brawled convincingly on the outside. The Viper stayed on the offensive and used the chain link to down the Franchise Player. Already, it felt as if they were wrestling like two men with a point to prove. Orton fetched a chair, but Cena countered with a gut shot, then trying to use the chair himself but to no avail, as Orton countered the corner charge like the calculating heel is meant to be. Randall used the chair to get a two count, and a DDT led to another near fall. Although Orton was conclusively in charge, he kept the pace and intensity high, which is when he does his best work (the Reigns match and the Jericho match both fell down in my opinion because of their overly methodical and mechanical feel). A signature pose later, John Boy had taken back the advantage with a clothesline from behind, going into the five moves of doom, only for Orton to counter the five knuckle shuffle with that patented snap powerslam. The Apex Predator proceeded to crotch Cena on the ring post from a protoplex position, then hit his signature backbreaker. However, Cena showed his character’s ring awareness by reversing Orton into the cell and flinging him head first into it. In an awesome bit of character work, Cena tried to AA Randy through a table, but the Viper flipped the table over, slid off the shoulders and countered into a dropkick. Great stuff. The Franchise Player found himself flung into the steel chair still propped in the corner and Orton moved smoothly back into the driver’s seat. Cena tried the comeback, but the second shoulder tackle saw the first RKO OUTTA NOWHERE for a long two count. Cena was then driven through the table, but avoided the RKO on the steps with his strength and protoplexed his rival right onto that unforgiving steel, before following up with the 5 knuckle shuffle. Orton saved himself from the AA on the steps with a low blow, and set up the Punt, but he ran right into the STF. It was the ebb and flow of this match that really impressed, a slickness and an organic feel that bouts between these two have so often lacked. The closing sequence saw a few too many false finishes for my tastes, with another couple of AAs and another RKO OUTTA NOWHERE. Orton tried for his finisher off the second rope (and out of somewhere rather than nowhere) the final time, but got shoved off. He then tried for the superplex, but got AAed through a table instead for the hard fought Cena victory. These two wrestlers have so often put out lazy work against each other, but this was proof that they can work well together. The formula was simple: they avoided clichés, worked at a hot pace and designed some intricate sequences that invested the fans. Well done to them both. With a bit more violence, I would have rated it even higher. In result terms, I’d have preferred an Apex Predator victory, but perhaps we will see a babyface Orton face Lesnar at Wrestlemania instead of at the Rumble? Don’t count the possibility out.


Big Show was shown warming up with Mark Henry’s support. Both myself and my LOP Columns Section colleague Rob thought that this was a tease for a World’s Strongest Man betrayal and possible Sergeant Slaughter style “defection”, but it wasn’t to be...perhaps it’s in the post for Raw?

Sheamus defeated The Miz (with Damien Mizdow) in 8:18 to retain the US Championship

The recap of the Sheamus promo on Mizdow TV exposed just how unbearably smug the Irishman’s babyface character is. This man will never, ever get over in the role he is in at the moment. He is treading water and doing so for dear life. As the bell rung, the Celtic Warrior went for the Brogue Kick, which Miz avoided. A hip toss by Sheamus led to the Awesome One trying to escape, which set up the forearm shots, but Miz hung him on the top rope. Meanwhile, Mizdow was mimicking whatever Miz was doing, which was sort of funny, but probably taking the gimmick a shade too far. However, Mizdow’s interference eventually allowed his employer to take control, but the Great White broke out of the chinlock with power moves and stiff strikes. A battering ram off the second rope and Irish Curse led to a near fall, after which Miz regained his momentum and hit all his signatures, but Sheamus soon came back into the ascendancy. Boring match, in all honesty, with a lot of awkward chemistry between the two. The finishing sequence got a little livelier, as a Sandow distraction allowed Miz to hit the Skull Crushing Finale, but Super Sheamus of course kicked out at 2. Miz leaped straight into the Brogue Kick for the decisive defeat. After the match there was some absolutely horrible “comedy” that had absolutely no place on anyone’s TV and once again exposed the Celtic Warrior as having the most inappropriate babyface persona in recent memory. Humiliating the man you have already beaten and kicking him in the face again for good measure? BE A STAR. Disgusting.


Brie’s PA job appears to have already started. Nikki pours a smoothie Brie made her over her head. Amusing enough, for what it was.

Yet another excellent hype package for Rusev vs. Show. The old school 80s booking of the Bulgarian Brute’s feuds warms the cockles of my heart.

Rusev (with Lana) defeated The Big Show in 7:54

Lana, resplendent in pink, told the crowd to shut up and told the US that they might have the World’s Largest Athlete, but Russia has a super athlete, before asking the crowd to rise for Russian national anthem. Great heel work there, but Show came out before the music could play. The World’s Largest Athlete started off with the big chops and a big face shine, with the crowd chanting “USA”. Show missing a charge in the corner put over Rusev’s quickness, and the Eastern European went after the leg, sensible psychology when wrestling a giant, and slapped on an interesting looking submission hold which The Big Show sold very well, before powering out of the hold, only for Rusev to go back to the knee and thence to a massive suplex. Such impressive strength there. The Bulgarian Brute bumped halfway across the ring for Show’s comeback but then hit a marvellously athletic drop kick to show his resilience. Feeling it at that point, he went for the stomps to the back, but Show countered The Accolade with a brand new submission he had promised to break out on the TVs before the event. Rusev reached the ropes, and looked to be vulnerbale to the knockout blow, but Wight missed. Even so, he looked in control as his friend Mizark came out. Show went for the chokeslam, Rusev escaped by going back to the knee, but got caught in it the second time for a close near fall. However, The Big Show made the mistake of taking his eye off the Hero of Mother Russia and a flurry of superkicks led to the Accolade, which looked awkward on someone the size of Paul Wight, but nevertheless, Rusev got the tap out to end a very decent big man match.


An Ambrose promo backstage recalls those early handicam Shield promos. Great, frenzied stuff, of course.

AJ Lee defeated Paige (with Alicia Fox) in 6:49 to retain the Divas Title

Paige used her power advantage early doors, but AJ showed her quickness with a clothesline and multiple head scissors. Alicia got involved, but Lee ground and pound the crazy Fox to try to get her out of her hair. This allowed Paige to giant swing AJ into the barricade before sending her back into the ring for more punishment. Paige hit some Matt Morgan style standing elbows elbows in the corner, trash talked and then stomped her opponent into the mat. Knees through the ropes wore down her diminutive opponent even further. However, AJ came back into things with the Thesz press and a neckbreaker, but the flurry did not last long as she ran into a superkick. The Rampaige was set up, but it was countered by Miss Lee, who hit a tornado DDT and then slapped on a dragon sleeper, which Hell in Boots powered out of, skipping around the ring with her for heat and then going into a fall away slam. From there it was back to the outside, with AJ going into the barricade again. Paige got up on the barrier for the superplex, but AJ tipped her over. Alicia put Paige back in to avoid the count out loss, but she walked straight into the Black Widow. Paige slapped Foxy after the match and lived up to her character by yelling “I hate you!” at her short lived best pal. Pretty decent match which was hurt a bit by a non existent crowd reaction. I would think we will be getting Nikki vs. AJ for the title at the next PPV now, with Paige back in the title picture once the Road To Wrestlemania starts. Maybe that’s where these two will have their Trish and Mickie moment.


Another blockbuster video package proceeded the main event. For all of us who Believed In The Shield (which I’m sure was everyone reading), it was compelling viewing.

Seth Rollins (with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury) defeated Dean Ambrose in 13:54 in a Hell In A Cell Match

Ambrose came out first, with a scabbard filled with kendo sticks slung over his shoulder, but unsatisfied with just one way to inflict pain, he threw a whole wedding’s worth of chairs into the ring, as well as a bag full of assorted tools, before proceeding to scale the cell, with the crowd going wild. Rollins hilariously had Mercury and Noble go after Ambrose! Great character work from all involved, as the stooges were reluctant to go up there and Rollins reminded them they work for him. Fantastic arrogance and comedy. Ambrose destroyed the two retired cruisers with a kendo stick and then he and Rollins was on as they went toe to toe, with The Architect somehow having made it to the top of the structure without anyone noticing. In the end, the triple team told and Rollins used the kendo stick on the Lunatic Fringe. Mercury and Noble continued the beat down, directed by Seth, just great storytelling all around. Ambrose fought out of that predicament, downed Mercury and suplexed Noble on the roof of the cell. Seth tried his best to escape but got caught, in a great moment of comeuppance, as the crowd was by this point desperate to see him get his just desserts. With the two men fighting back and forth, both ended up going through the tables simultaneously, in a homage to the original match where Shawn Michaels performed just such a stunt, rather than the 1998 Foley effort, which is way too bonkers to pay homage to in today’s world! The stretchers came out then, and well done to WWE for selling both men as being done for the evening for such an extended period- it really helped the suspension of disbelief. Ambrose fought off the stretcher and followed Rollins, stripping him off the stretcher and throwing him into the chain link and finally inside the cell, screaming at the refs to lock the cell and now finally, we could begin the match proper, as the bell finally rang!

It was really unbelievable how much they fit into that opening stanza; if anything, it reminded me of Survivor Series ‘97, where Bret and Shawn brawled all around the arena for ten minutes before their actual ill fated match began. Well worth re-watching that Montreal Screwjob match, as an aside. Great stuff bar the finish. Back in the cell, Ambrose sat on a chair and shouted to a writhing Architect about being stabbed in the back before delivering a series of vile chair shots in a smart nod to the original betrayal. Seth tried to escape again, but Ambrose flipped him back in by the hair. Ambrose menaced his hated rival with a screwdriver then, but Rollins was able to fight away, only for Dean to hit the rope hung dropkick with Rollins bumping like a missile right into the steel. When he tried to run again, he got clotheslined over the top from behind and was moments later rocked by a suicide dive. When Ambrose went for a suplex onto the pile of chairs, Rollins was able to block twice and hit a belly to back on his former colleague onto the pile of chairs. The Architect got a table on the outside and tried to superplex Dean through it, but the attempt was blocked and the Lunatic Fringe then dropped a beautiful looking elbow onto Seth and through the wood! The stooges arrived and tried to distract him, but Ambrose ignored them and cheese grated Rollins’ face on the cage. Kane arrived and used a fire extinguisher to allow the Rollins comeback, with the Authority hitter taking him through another table with a sick powerbomb. The kerb stomp is hit cleanly, but the Lunatic Fringe would not lay down and got the shoulder up. Incredible pacing and heat here. Rollins unleashed a series of crazed chair shots that recalled Austin on Rock at the climax of the ‘Mania XVII main event and set up for kerb stomp on the briefcase, but Ambrose sprang up, and even an enziguri couldn’t stop him as that awesome rope bounce clothesline and a briefcase shot got the babyface a two count. Ambrose got the cinder blocks out, selling the idea of poetic justice, but just as he was setting up a stomp of his own, the lights went out and weird chanting in tongues began, sending us older fans back in time to the Ministry of Darkness days. It was so creepy that I wondered if WWE’s production had been hijacked or something. A fluorescent lantern appeared in the middle of the ring and that was when I suddenly thought of Bray Wyatt. As the light grew brighter, his form became discernible, and he attacked with that gnarly Rock Bottom/chokeslam hybrid to Ambrose. A wary Rollins rolled over to get the pin, whilst Dean Ambrose received a Sister Abigail after the match, with Bray posing to end the show.

Just...wow. This was three matches packed into the space of one, and there was so much rich content, it may very well take me five or more rewatches to fully coalesce my thoughts, but what an incredibly powerful piece of work it was. The first section saw the top of cell shenanigans from the first three cell matches in company history, a stereo bump which looked a lot like HBK’s but with two fallers instead of one, and a thrilling battle from stretchers to the cell. The second portion contained more violence than we’ve seen in any other WWE match of the PG or Reality Eras, with a whole host of brilliant spots that showcased the storytelling abilities of the duo, as well as their insane chemistry. The way they told their tale was right up there with the very best, for my money. The finish saw a compelling tribute to the debut of Kane all those years ago, with the Wyatt repackage that’s been teased over the past few weeks coming to fruition with fantastic results. Bray instantly has his heat back, and let us not forget the existing beef between he and Ambrose that dates back to their off the charts promo duels before Elimination Chamber. There are all manner of questions raised by the attack of the Eater of Worlds, and I guarantee you that everybody who loves wrestling will be tuning into Raw later today to see them answered. That is the very soul of good booking. For anyone bitching about the ending, let me dispel some myths. Dean Ambrose not winning here is not going to hurt him. He wanted to put the hurting on Seth Rollins, and he did so. He will STILL want to take out The Architect, he will STILL want to stop him cashing in his Money In The Bank contract, but now, he will need to ALSO deal with the considerable threat of the Patriarch of the Wyatt Family. Booking 101 states that your top babyfaces need to be kept away from their desires for as long as is feasible in order to maintain audience hunger. Wyatt is yet another obstacle for Dean to overcome ON HIS WAY to finally defeating Rollins and perhaps becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Look at Austin, Rock, Bryan, whoever you like, it is ESSENTIAL to put hurdles up in front of your hot babyface draw. All three men come out of this hotter and more over than they were before it, and that ending will be replayed for years to come. Bray NEEDED a shot in the arm after his midhandling over the spring and summer, and this is it. Everyone’s a winner. So in short, I loved that ending, I loved that match, I loved the homages to past bouts in Hell In A Cell lore. Wonderful stuff, WWE. Thank you.


I’m quite out of breath after all that, but man oh man, am I ever PUMPED UP for Monday Night Raw now. Hell In A Cell 2014 is right up there with the best pay-per-views of recent times and was well worth the fifteen quid I paid Rupert bloody Murdoch to watch it. I will certainly be watching the replay after I’ve had a few hours sleep. I may watch multiple replays actually. That is how a pay-per-view should make you feel!


Well that’s all from me for now...it’s 6:03 in the morning, and week off work or not, I should really go to bed! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or you can tweet me here:

This is Maverick, requesting flyby!